NBA Free Agency Day 2: The Thunder Get Their Center, The Champs Reload, Tobias Harris Somehow Keeps Getting Paid And More

Day 1 of NBA Free Agency was mostly a day for the "big names". We got the Paul George news, the James Harden news, the CP3 news etc. Once all those deals were in place, it then helped shaped how the rest of free agency would go. A lot of these teams are sort of in a holding pattern until the big fish get taken care of, so for me I always looked at Day 2 as the value day. Maybe not be "biggest" or "sexiest" of names, but players that are still damn good and should absolutely make an impact on whatever team they end up on (for the most part).

So just like we did yesterday, let's run through some of the news and try and make sense of what it means moving forward

The day started of course with one of the easiest no brainers in the history of no brainers. This Maxey extension might seem like a crazy number, but I don't think so. Welcome to the market price of elite young NBA talent in 2024. While not the perfect player, he's essentially the other franchise player in Philly and I'd say he certainly earned his max extension given his rise from his rookie year to now. What's cool about this for Maxey is he bet on himself, waited an extra year to extend, and then came out with the best season of his life. I'll always root for shit like that. It's not like he was given that $200M based on his "star power" or "name recognition" or anything like that which we tend to see with older stars. He earned that shit. 

When you combine his skillset, his age, his production, and how much he embraces the franchise and the city, this is the exact type of player you hand the keys over to and pay whatever the maximum amount is to keep him around for the foreseeable future. Given he's just 23 years old I could argue we haven't even come close to Maxey's prime NBA years yet, which for Sixers fans I imagine is pretty exciting.

Alright, it's pretty clear by now that the Bulls have zero fucking idea what they are doing. Which is it, are you blowing it up or are you investing in your team? Make up your damn minds! On one hand, you give up Alex Caruso and don't even get any picks back, then you're trying to unload Zach LaVine by attaching picks to his deal which screams rebuild, you've lost DeRozan and are still trying to move Vucevic…… naturally you pay Patrick Williams nearly 100M and then sign Jalen Smith to this deal?

What exactly is the plan here?

This isn't even about Jalen Smith. He's a fine depth center who can stretch the floor a little bit, and at $9M per it's not some sort of crazy deal or anything like that. I just don't get the plan? Do they view him as the center of the future or something? In the NBA you basically have to pick two directions. You either go all in and be serious about contending, or you bottom the hell out. A signing like this just screams NBA purgatory, which is the worst place you can be. Smith is a good player who can help a good team looking to make a push, but that's not what the Bulls are right now…..I think. If they're rebuilding, there's no point in a signing like this in my opinion. You want to lose as much as possible. If you're trying to be good, why are you trading Alex Caruso and losing DeRozan for nothing? You need to pick a direction and stick to it. It sucks, but that's the NBA.


Last year at the trade deadline, pretty much anyone who watched the Thunder play could tell they needed rebounding help. Despite how good they were all season, it was the one glaring hole of their roster. Many thought they'd address the position at the trade deadline with some sort of reserve big, they didn't, and ultimately they paid the price. In their series against the Mavs, the Thunder allowed 73 OREB in 6 games. Only the Knicks had more (88 in 7 games vs IND). The Mavs 97 2nd chance points in that series vs OKC was also the 2nd highest on that round, so it was clear that the lack of solving their rebounding problem was pretty costly.

Well, enter Isaiah Hartenstein. Easily the "best" center on the free agent market, I'd say he cashed in on that opportunity. Once the Knicks went all in on building the Villanova Knicks and keeping OG, iHart's days were numbered. When you have good teams like OKC with max cap space and you're maybe a piece away from making the Finals, that's the perfect time to strike.

While Hartenstein isn't really a stretch center and it might take a while for him to fit into how OKC plays, the fact of the matter is he's a fantastic rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. The energy he plays with is insane, and given that the only other center on OKC was Chet Holmgren, there's no reason to think his impact in OKC won't be massive. 

You also have to tip your cap to Sam Presti for how he's constructed this roster. He brought in an All NBA point of attack defender in Caruso and the best center on the market and didn't have to give up a single first round pick to do it. That, feels a little insane. 

Sure, it's the Pistons. We already know they have no clue how to build a successful basketball team. So this isn't so much about them and this signing as much as it is an opportunity to pay my respects to one of the best grifters and first ballot inductees into the Business Of Sports HOF. 

I mean, how does Tobias Harris keep getting away with this?

Giphy Images.


Here's a crazy stat. By the end of this 2 year deal, Tobias Harris will have made over $300M in basketball contracts alone. $300M! If you can't respect that type of hustle I dunno what to tell ya. It's not his problem that the Pistons decided it was a great idea to throw that type of money at a guy who tends to disappear rather frequently whenever the pressure mounts and his team needs some sort of production.

The good news? I can't imagine the Pistons play a game of significance at any point during this 2 year deal, which means Harris will probably put up good numbers despite the losses. 

Remember, you're value isn't actually what you're worth, it's what you have the leverage to negotiate. The Pistons needed a wing, they had a shit ton of money to spend this summer, Harris has already been a Piston before, and while other players might be looking to actually join a good team, I respect a guy for saying you know what? I may as well take this money and then re-enter the market in 2 years since no good teams are calling.

I'm grouping these together for obvious reasons, and if you're interested in my thoughts about the White extension you can go here, and for the Tatum breakdown, you can go here.

For this blog I'll just say this. I absolutely love it here. Life continues to be absolutely incredible.


You know times are tough in MIL when their fans are over the moon about….Delon Wright. After a pretty embarrassing Draft with a couple of guys who are a couple of years away from being a couple of years away, the Bucks had to do something to help this roster and this team "win now". As we saw during the year, their point of attack defense was pretty dogshit, they had a positional need at guard/secondary ball handler, and in theory, Delon Wright fits that mold.

He has OK size, can defend a little bit here and there, and is a fairly consistent outside shooter. The point is, without any real assets to trade and with them wasting the draft, the Bucks had to take what they could get in the free agent market. Does it move the needle? Not really when it comes to say, stopping the Celtics, but Delon Wright has been a solid player for a long time and given the price, things could certainly be worse.

I was a little surprised he didn't stay in MIA, but I also don't blame him for getting the hell out of there.

Ah yes, the classic move of a guy being traded away from a team only to come back in free agency. Remember when Paul George went on his podcast and cried about how the Clippers trading Batum/Convington was a disaster because it forced him to now have to do the "dirty work" to try and win? Classic. Just the perfect player to be a Sixer in my opinion.

Meanwhile, a return to LAC should help their depth and even at his advanced age Batum can still be an impactful player in limited minutes. This is probably his last run, and while it doesn't exactly solve the hole now created by a departing Paul George, at the very least the Clippers could always flip him again should the opportunity arise. Given how strapped for cash a lot of the other contenders are at the moment, I can see why he maybe took a little less to return to a team he was familiar with who also now has a need for his position.


Probably the "biggest" name we saw get moved in Day 2, I like the fit of Klay in DAL. As long as you accept that he's not going to be Splash Brothers Klay to the degree we've become used to, this move makes sense. The money isn't crazy, the Mavs desperately need shooting, and they've essentially swapped DJJ/Green/THJ for Klay/Naji/Grimes. I see that as an upgrade in defense (Naji/Grimes) and an upgrade in shooting (Klay). Add in some additional motivation to bury the Warriors, and that's the good side of this signing.

The tough part is of course, this is not prime Klay, especially defensively. Given what we just saw when it came to the Mavs perimeter defense against elite wings, the Mavs are still going to have issues in that department depending on the matchup. Luka/Kyrie/Klay is not locking down anyone in 2024 I'm afraid. For example, if the Mavs had Klay in the Finals, I'm pretty sure the Jays still feast without breaking a sweat. The counter to that I imagine is the Mavs are betting that improved shooting from that spot compared to what they got from DJJ will be enough to make up for any defensive issues they had this past season.

It's a low risk high reward type of deal in my opinion, and considering the Mavs have to be showing Luka they are committed to winning at all times, a move like this makes sense. You just have to hope that since those 3 years are all guaranteed (no options) that somehow Klay's game ages well. Given what we saw this past season, maybe that's wishful thinking.

The Magic man, I'm telling you. They're coming. I loved what they did with KCP in Day 1, and while I imagine not a whole lot of people have ever heard of Goga Bitadze, he actually showed some legit flashes last year for the Magic. At 3/25M for a 24 year old reserve center who should have a more expanded role this season, it's not the worst way to spend your cap space. Again, the Magic had to spend this money somehow, and it's not like this is a massive deal that will blow up in their faces. At worst, that's a moveable contract should a team out there end up needing center depth as the year goes on.

With Mo Bamba now in LAC, Wendell Carter Jr and Jonathan Isaac always having health concerns, there's nothing wrong with investing in a young player who showed potential. To me this is the perfect type of signing that sums up Day 2 being a value contract day. There's good value here for the Magic, and at this point in free agency that's what it's all about. I'd also say the same thing about Garry Harris' 2/14M to stay in Orlando as well.

As we now enter Day 3, we've already gotten things started with Donovan Mitchell's max extension which Tate broke down earlier this morning. Of the "big names" still left, we're still waiting on DeMar DeRozan, role players such as Spencer Dinwiddie, Marketlle Fultz, Gordon Hayward, Buddy Hield, Tyus Jones, Luke Kennard, Caleb Martin, Kyle Lowry, Isaac Okoro, Dennis Smith Jr, Gary Trent Jr, Lonnie Walker IV, and James Wiseman etc are all looking for homes. The bad news is, money is drying up quick, so the chances these guys get a big payday has probably passed.